Turo, a well-known American peer-to-peer car sharing company, established in San Francisco, California, is a popular choice for many people worldwide. However, whether you are a host or a renter, utilizing the app may expose you to scams if you are not cautious. That being said, what is an example of one of the scams?
Someone calling or texting you with a non-Turo phone number and asking you questions such as, “Are you still using your Turo account?” is a popular scam or “When was the last time you used Turo?” They're seeking to get your two-factor authentication code from you. Do not respond when this happens.
If scammers get their hands on your two-factor authentication code from you, several things can go wrong. However, you can also get scammed in other ways. Scammers and imposters come up with creative, tricky, and fraudulent techniques. So, what are some scams to keep your eyes peeled open for?
The Truth About Getting Scammed On Turo
Phishing scams, as mentioned above, go back a long way in fraudulent history. However, phishing scams are common, so much so that it is advertised on the Turo Support Page that this scam exists and how to prevent it.
In light of that, Hosts and Renters both risk being scammed if proper procedures and security measurements are not considered. Another opportunistic scammer may take advantage of the before and after images taken.
Now, Turo suggests Renters and Hosts should take at least 6 before and after photos of the exterior and interior areas of the vehicle. However, after my personal experience and copious research, I found that six images are not enough, and here's why.
Before And After Turo Photo Scam
Recognizing the risks of using Turo as a Host or Renter is critical. You risk going through a possibly painful procedure if you do not protect yourself adequately by taking images of the car you'll be renting at suitable angles and the number of photos covering every nook and cranny that are visible.
Through my research and evaluations, I've discovered that some opportunistic fraudsters may host their vehicle on Turo and seek to claim back from either renters or the Turo insurance policy at any opportunity. So, how do they get this right?
Scammers accomplish this in various methods, one of which is to place the vehicle in such a manner that it is challenging to snap images of the car at particular angles and purposely conceal a damaged region or damaged component of the car.
That said, the renter must take pictures of the car before proceeding to use it, and as a result, they may overlook the damaged area of interest.
It then becomes the perfect opportunity for the Host to lay a claim on the damaged area now that they know the renter has missed his chance to successfully protect themselves.
The sad reality is that this can happen in many different scenarios, depending on what the scammer could be after. However, there are still ways to protect yourself.
It brings me back to the number of photos required, and six or less will just not cut it. The rule of thumb between Turo enthusiasts has bumped the number of pictures up to between 40 and 80 photos.
Some users even record a slow and steady video of the vehicle before and after use. It may appear like a bit of a hassle, but it is a hassle that may be worth it.
Furthermore, it may not even be a scam but rather the hosts themselves, who may not have realized the damages they made before renting the car out. However, the reality remains that scammers would do this to take advantage of an opportunity to claim new tires or car parts.
Finally, it's always best to be vigilant and never expose a risk that an opportunistic scammer may take advantage of.
Turo Policy On Cash App
Turo has a firm policy that all car damage must be reported directly to them and not addressed with the renter. If a host contacts you after a rental, stating that a nail was driven into the tire and is now expecting you to transfer their money through the cash app, you are then scammed.
Transactions conducted outside the Turo app (e.g., in the Cash App) are not permitted. It's on the damage claims terms of service and support pages: don't pay any host there.
If they insist on payment, advise them to submit a damage claim through Turo and then do not further communicate with them. Your rental is complete; all subsequent correspondence should be sent only to Turo.
It's entirely possible that the Host does not have the appropriate documents to submit a claim for damage through Turo and is attempting to get you to pay them directly so they don't have to cover it out of pocket.
Finally, the result is that it is important to understand that the purpose of Turo's policy wording is to protect both the renter and the Host. If you plan to invest a good sum of money and time into a rental, it will benefit you to go through all the policy wording and acquaint yourself with the fine print.
Opportunists will always seek to take advantage of any situation, no matter your business. However, this is not intended to frighten you away from Turo. Turo is like Air B&B but with wheels and has plenty more honest and honorable hosts and renters than scammers.
That said, scammers still exist. It is critical to protect yourself by understanding the terms of service and ensuring that you have evidence of the vehicle's condition before and after.